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SWBC's BusinessHub blog is a one-stop resource for business owners and company decision makers.


The Value of Taking Vacation Time


Did you know that giving your employees time off from work can make them more productive and increase your profits? Seems counterproductive, right? Well, when employees have proper work/life balance, including ample sick, vacation, and/or paid time off, it can increase productivity, improve morale, increase retention, and have significant health benefits for your employees.  

Even if your business has a liberal time off policy, your employees may not be taking the time off that is available to them. American workers had 169 million unused vacation days in 2014. Whether because of self-imposed guilt or pressure from management, as a nation, we are a bunch of workaholics! The U.S. Travel Association found that 28% of workers did not take vacation in an effort to prove their dedication to their employer, while 40% were concerned with falling behind in their workload. This work-martyr complex is certainly a cultural trend that won't be eradicated overnight, but business owners and employees alike should be aware of the risks of overworking, as well as the value of adequate vacation time.

Related reading: 7 Ways Safety Training Can Reduce Business Expenditures 

Some of the primary risks of overworking:

  • Increased stress, which can lead to a myriad of health problems, including depression; according to WebMD, the direct cost of depression on the workplace is $79 billion.

  • A strain on personal relationships including spouses, significant others, and children

  • Increased risk of heart disease—In fact, according to the Framington Heart Study, men who do not take regular vacations are 30% more likely to suffer from heart attacks

  • Burnout leading to decreased productivity and creativity, increased illness, and higher turnover

Some advantages for taking time off:

  • Growth in interpersonal relationships—Vacations and sharing memories can produce stronger bonds with friends, family, and loved ones, developing more positive employees

  • Improved outlook—Stepping away from stress-related problems can help employees decompress and develop a different perspective on workplace problems 

  • Increased mental power—Vacations can help reboot a mentally drained brain

  • Decreased risk of burnout—Taking regular time to relax increases creativity and productivity; employees are less likely to feel overworked and burned out

  • Healthier mind—A vacation can be calming and relieve stress; this is one of the best ways for the mind and body to heal

Encouraging your employees to take a leisure vacation can be mutually beneficial. Promoting work/life balance, personal fulfillment, and optimal mental health can help your business recruit and retain your most valued resource—your employees. The value of vacation time is undeniable: taking an adequate amount of time away from work can help your employees relax, regroup, and return to work refreshed and ready to put their best foot forward. And don't forget, you need time off, too, in order to be an effective leader!

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